No Bake Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake With a Pretzel Crust
Ditch the oven and let your refrigerator make this No Bake Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake with a Pretzel Crust. It’s crunchy and creamy, salty and sweet and decked out with vodka-soaked strawberries. Dessert has never been easier!
It storms nearly every afternoon in Florida. So much so that severe thunderstorm warnings are my go-to excuse for baking. If I can’t do anything outside, I’m making something in the kitchen. I don’t care if the wind is blowing 45 mph, it’s raining buckets and trees are tipped over in my yard—if the power is still on I’m whipping up something sweet.
Today I’m making my favorite of all cakes: a cheesecake. Even better, a no-bake cheesecake. Since the weatherman is already stressing me out with flash flood warnings, I don’t need the added stress that comes with cracking cheesecakes and water baths.
Plus, when the humidity is pushing 100% the last thing anyone wants is a hot oven in their house.
Sweltering days and sweet cravings are the story of my life. But for once I’m not sweating it; I’m letting the refrigerator come to the rescue.
And why the hell not? Icebox cheesecake is just as lip-smacking as oven-baked and preps out in half the time. First we’ll start with a crunchy, salty scratch-made pretzel crust and top it with a creamy cheesecake filling swirled with a homemade strawberry jam. Then, for the pièce de résistance, we’ll pair it all with vodka-soaked strawberries for a show-stopping dessert that will be the star of your summer picnic.
No-bake strawberry swirl cheesecake is fast, easy and worth the wait it takes to set up in the refrigerator. And since the vodka is already out for infusing strawberries, have a double martini and toast the minimal effort you expended to make this dessert.
No Bake Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake With a Pretzel Crust
- 1 pound fresh strawberries hulled and halved
- 1 cup vodka
- 2 cups salted mini pretzels
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt fine
- 16 ounces full fat cream cheese softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream cold
- 1 tsp vanilla pure
- 1 cup fresh strawberries hulled and diced
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1 Tbsp water
- Rinse, hull and half 16 ounces of fresh strawberries.
- Place in a glass bowl and cover with one cup of vodka. Soak for one hour.
- Drain vodka, cover and store strawberries in the refrigerator until you’re ready to garnish cheesecake.
- Grease a 9 inch springform pan with butter.
- Pulse pretzels in a food processor until they form powdery-fine crumbs.
- Add melted butter, brown sugar and salt. Pulse until combined and saturation is consistent
- Press pretzel mixture into the bottom of springform pan. Using the bottom of a glass to pack crust evenly and tightly.
- Freeze for 10 minutes until set.
- Puree rinsed, hulled and diced strawberries with sugar in a food processor.
- Strain puree through a mesh sieve to remove seeds.
- Add puree to a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add water and cornstarch and stir until thickened.
- Set aside to cool completely at room temperature then transfer to a covered bowl to chill in the refrigerator until cheesecake is ready to be swirled.
- Beat softened cream cheese until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat on high until smooth and lump free.
- In a separate bowl, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form. (Approximately 5 minutes.)
- Gently fold heavy cream into cream cheese mixture with a rubber spatula until combined.
- Pour cheesecake filling into pretzel crust and smooth top with a spatula until evenly distributed.
- Drop dollops of strawberry sauce onto cheesecake and swirl gently with a chopstick or butter knife.
- Refrigerate until cheesecake is set (approximately 2 hours) then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.
- Fresh strawberries are the crown jewels of this recipe and the sweetest ones of the season are found in late summer. If you do not have fresh strawberries, frozen can work in a pinch if thawed first.
- Use full fat cream cheese at room temperature and ice cold heavy cream.
- Any flavor-free distilled vodka will suffice. My favorite is Crystal Head because it comes in a cool, skull shaped bottle. Just be forewarned that vodka shots and crystal skulls can lead to Indiana Jones delusions.
- No-bake cheesecakes require chilling time in the refrigerator to properly set up. Eight to twelve hours is ideal. I suggest prepping at the end of the day, chilling overnight and waking up to ice cold cheesecake for breakfast.
- Soak the strawberries in vodka for one hour to infuse with alcohol. If you want, stab them a few times with a fork to increase the saturation. Vodka-soaked strawberries can be made up to 3 days in advance. Drain vodka after an hour of soaking and store strawberries in a covered glass container in the refrigerator.
- The strawberry sauce needs to cool to room temperature before swirling into the cheesecake. Do not swirl hot/warm jam into your cheesecake or you will make a melty mess of your dessert.
- Making homemade jam is simple. Just puree strawberries with sugar and strain through a mesh sieve into a saucepan. Full disclosure: this process is slow going, so be patient. Add water and cornstarch and cook over medium heat until thickened. Set aside to cool completely at room temperature then store jam in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- After cheesecake has chilled overnight, garnish with vodka-soaked strawberries, unlatch the sides of the springform pan and cut into slices.